Masters TV Schedule 2012: Former Champs With Best Shot at The Green Jacket

Eric Ball@@BigLeagueEballFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2012

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 03:  Fred Couples looks on during a practice round prior to the start of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 3, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The Masters is the hardest tournament to consistently win because of the course.

Augusta National, what Gary Player calls “as close to golf perfection as you will find,” brings the best out of every golfer on the tour (via The aura around the landscape is like no other on the entire PGA Tour.

That’s why there hasn’t been a repeat winner since Tiger Woods in 2001-02. This year’s event features over 10 previous winners, including last year’s champ Charl Schwartzel.

So, who has the best chance of adding another Green Jacket to their closet? Here are the three most likely options.

1. Phil Mickelson

The three-time Masters winner deserves to be higher than Tiger because he has displayed much more consistency during the last six months. He looked absolutely unstoppable when he shot an eight-under 64 on Sunday at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am to erase a six-shot deficit in what has been the best performance of the young season.

The risky Lefty loves to put his neck out on the line at Augusta and I fully expect him to be incredibly aggressive, especially now that Woods is officially back into the fold.

2. Tiger Woods

Despite going 0-for-5 in his last five Masters, he has finished no worse than tied for six in any of them. The four-time winner is finally comfortable with his swing again and has built the sort of confidence we haven’t seen since before Nov. 2009.

He is always going to be a threat to win it, but now that he has worked the kinks out of stroke, seems to be passed his knee and ACL issues and is as focused as he’s been in a long time, Woods is very dangerous.

3. Fred Couples

Woods and Mickelson have plenty of pressure riding on their shoulders. Couples has absolutely none whatsoever.

The 1992 winner has 10 career top-10 finishes and this year marks the 20th anniversary of his famous fourth-round tee shot at No. 12 that landed short of the green and the ball looked to roll off the embankment. Instead, it stayed up and the Green Jacket was his.

What would make for a better story than another Couples victory almost 20 years to the day of that historic event?

I’m rooting for a Coples win.

(Complete TV Schedule)

ESPN - Thursday April 5, 2012 Live coverage from 4:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., EST (Replay 8 p.m. - 11 p.m.)
ESPN - Friday April 6, 2012 Live coverage from 4:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., EST (Replay 8 p.m. - 11 p.m.)
CBS - Saturday April 7, 2012 from 3:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., EST
CBS - Sunday April 8, 2012 from 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., EST. Includes all 18 holes of the final round.